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Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

1/5/2020
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

The Urchin and the Noman
by R. J. Frogvarian

Day VII
Next came shadow, cold, hunger. The boys were roused from their sleep, though they desperately clung to the remnants of unconsciousness. They dared not move an inch. In the urchin’s eyes, thunder subsided, grey clouds sheepishly floating. In the noman’s eyes, a single fear: the cold of north.

Then, all was well.

Day VIII
The next visitor came in a storm. Lacre hailed around, temperatures demanded any cover they might find. Underneath a raggedy blanket, one of the boys had almost convinced himself his limbs were not giving out, when…

Warmth spread through the room. In an impromptu hearth flames danced high, and from behind them, a cloaked figure stared.

“There will be tragedy, you know,” it said, “It likes tragedies. There is much at stake for us. Can you feel the heat of the flames? How the Neath-snow noxiously melts? The worst storms come when end is near. Yes, soon the tears will subside. Soon, fires will burn stronger again. May they burn forever.”

It sat with them in solemn understanding for a while. When the storm had stopped, the fire had died out, the lovers now fast asleep, it was nowhere to be seen.

Day IX
It was gone in a flesh. A shadow swooped onto the roof, glowing eyes peered inside. A low screech like distorted laughter sounded.

“Oh, but we will see,” it intoned, and then, it was gone.

Yet, the urchin and the noman sat in stiff silence. Their fingers no longer intertwined - not for lack of want, only for fear that the other will let go.

Day X
A letter was slipped through a slit in the wall. Gently it floated down, between the two sitting on the floor. Shaky white hands broke the seal, pale fingernails fished the paper out. In neat handwriting, the letter spoke. It spoke of many truths and secrets, heart-wrenching tales, warnings of stories. It expressed sorrow over the boy’s predicament.

Most of all, it gleamed with understanding.

Little could be done to stop the tears.

Day XI
And tears never stopped before another hood appeared in the window. Soft fingers wiped the damp cheeks. A basket of food was placed on the floor.

“It does little to mourn early. Time is that which heals. Memories are what fuels us. These have not been easy days. Make the happiness last last forever.”

Laughter filled the room, soft and slow as if afraid to come out, but bold and brave in its presence. Smiles joined the tears, and just for a moment, thoughts swayed away from the inevitable.

Day XII
The final day was marked by silent softness. The world moved as if through molasses; not even the birds and the wind dared break the calm. If one squinted in sleepy blissfulness, if looked almost as if sunlight spread through the windows and the holes of the humble rooftop hideout.

The urchin and the noman together as one. Smiles of regrettable truth and acceptance. With stormy eyes they looked at each other. No bliss can last forever.


------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Two
Part III
by Cassius Mortemer

The Author led the Introverted Devil to his own home. Even when they were well away from the Side-Streets and the worst of the crowd, he was still rather disoriented. It was only when the Devil was seated in the Author’s favourite reading chair, his handkerchief forcefully pulled away from his face to allow him fresh air, that the Devil managed to regain his senses. The Author brought him a glass of Amanita Sherry. The Devil hesitated.

“You’ll probably feel better,” the Author said. The Devil, still unsure, took the glass anyway. It’s not like the Author could drink it.
“I’m… more surprised that you’d have it, to be honest.”
“Friend of a friend,”
“I see…”

The conversation went stagnant. The Devil awkwardly drank the sherry. The Author fiddled with his sleeves. Itching to start up a conversation. They sigh in unison. Then they smiled.
“Well…” the Author started, “It wasn’t a boring day,”
“It’s only noon,”
They smiled at each other, partly out of politeness, partly out of fondness. Struggle brings people together, even in cases like theirs. The Devil put his empty glass on a nearby table and got up, wiping away his smile.

“I should go,” he said. The Author sprang up and grabbed his arm.
“Wait! Are you sure? You seemed just about ready to pass out a moment ago,”
“I was not!”
“Consider it repayment then. For the trouble I caused,” the Author snagged the open bottle of Amanita Sherry, smiling sheepishly.
“Of course, I will be indulging in cheap Greyfields,” he continued.

The Devil looked at the Author, then the cheap sherry, then glanced back at the door. He sighed.
“Alright, fine. But after this I’m leaving,”


Three hours and two bottles later, and the Devil was still there. He was draped languidly over his chair, legs dangling over an armrest and an empty glass balanced on his stomach.
“Why… am I still here?” he drawled. He was supposed to leave ages ago. But now he’s here. With the Author. In relatively close proximity.

“Because you’re my guest and that’s just good manners,” the Author said. He was lying on his stomach, peering at the devil from over the edge of the couch’s armrest. Not the most comfortable of positions, but he enjoyed the view.

“You’re blond,” the Author remarked. The Devil, with his hat and tinted glasses tossed carelessly onto a coffee table, raised an eyebrow. He didn’t comment. The Author kept on, already accustomed to his silence.
“Like sunshine,” the Author said, reaching out as if to touch it. The Devil sat upright, out of reach. The Author didn’t seem particularly bothered. The Devil was already wondering what would’ve happened if he didn’t flinch away.
There was a moment of dizzy silence as the Author checked for remaining wine, and the Devil quietly contemplated society norms. Disappointed, the Author slumped back onto the couch. Staring at the Devil.
“What are souls like?”

The Devil stiffened.
“Do they taste a particular way, for instance?”
“Don’t be silly. We don’t eat souls,”
The Author thought for a bit, sitting upright.
“What do they look like?”
An idea occurred to the Devil. An awful one, yet an excellent one. It could answer all his questions, the ones just barely buzzing to the surface. Every...


“Why don’t I show you?” he said. He joined the Author on the couch, elbows rubbing together. It may be rather ill-taught to do this on a living room couch, but the Devil doubted he’d get the Author all the way to his bedroom and still manage to be charming.
“Do you know how this works?” the Devil asked. The Author’s throat bobbed. Nervousness, but not reluctance.
“On the couch?” he asked. The Devil smiled at him.
“Don’t worry about it,”

The Devil took his hand and leaned close, remembering all those lessons, all those well practiced words… The Author seemed surprised. Was he expecting something else? The Author was swallowed up by his words in no time at all. Warm, golden light, swimming behind his eyelids...

And then the Devil was gone.


------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

Red Lights Overhead - Citizens Report A “Christmas Miracle”

Christmas may be nearly behind us, but the festive mood still remains. With some, even a little more than usual.

For several days, there have been many reports of strange occurances within the main London area. Citizens claim seeing a large silhouette of some sort of hansom with many horses, lead by a strange bright red light. There have also been reports of hearing a deep yet calming laughter from the false skies.

All of these reports, some overlapping, also claim having found small gifts on their windowsills the following morning.

While none of these claims have been confirmed as true, we would advise any and every citizen to stay vigilant and not fall victim to viles of some shadowy gift-giver.

Nonetheless, it could also be a big beneficial jest, or better - a performance piece! That would, of course, delight us.

Nonetheless, London, we do hope your holidays had been marvelous, and that good things will come to you within the new year.


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
Once again, I have failed. Perhaps it is time.
Pleasing

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Pleasing,
It, fortunately, may never be the time - unless, of course, it comes of its own accord.

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
+2 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

1/12/2020
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

And on the Seventh day, we wept.


------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Three
Part I
by Cassius Mortemer

The Author woke up in his bedroom, a small package on his bedside table. It was morning, and he was alone. What happened last night? He didn’t feel particularly troubled. Or happy. Or particularly alive.

The Author rolled over and grabbed the package. Logically, he thought he should be alarmed, scared, heartbroken. He felt none of that. Just a vague emptiness, deep within him. He opened the package. It was a few handfuls of jewels, bits of Nevercold Brass and a Devilbone dice. There was a piece of paper on his bedside table. A contract. His very own infernal contract.

He had lost his soul.

Should he go look for it? It’s certainly an odd sensation, to not have a soul. Not unpleasant, he supposed. But odd.
He wrapped up his jewels and brass and made way for the door. He should look for the Introverted Devil. He will have his soul. Won’t he? He certainly didn’t expect an Abstraction when the Devil sat so close to him yesterday, but he’s the only one that could’ve done it. He thought about last night. Drinking with the Devil, getting to know him… somewhat.

He didn’t feel anything...

Did his home always look this grey and dismal? The Author got dressed in cleaner clothes. He’ll check the honey-dens first. He met the Devil there, after all. Maybe someone saw him. Maybe someone knows where to find him.

The same Guardswoman stopped him from going in this time around.
“You don’t understand, I-”
“Yeah, yeah, you said the same thing yesterday,”
The Author felt a somewhat... muffled sense of unease. A knot in his stomach where anger used to be. It feels kind of… cold, now.
“I don’t need to go inside,” he says.
“What do you want, then?”

The Author pulled a piece of paper out of his pants pocket. He had attempted a sketch of the Introverted Devil from memory before coming here. It wasn’t half bad, really. Very detailed, too.
“Have you seen this devil? He’s blond, wears all black.”

The guardswoman looked at the picture for a while, then at the Author. Then back at the picture. She jerked her chin to the alleys off to her right.
“Yesterday. That’s all”
The Author looked towards the alleys. That’s where he and the devil had met. He’s no closer than he was when he left his house. He sighed, disappointed, but thanked the Guardswoman nonetheless.

The next place to check would be the Forgotten Quarter. The Author took the exact same route he took with the Devil. Waited for a cab on the same corner. Got off at the same desolate street.

The Forgotten Quarter was quiet. But not ‘quiet’ as in a lack of sound - there was screaming in the distance, for one - it was the kind of quiet that instantly silenced your own thoughts. The kind that allowed even the slightest sounds to press in on your ears and burrow into your mind.

The Author put one foot in front of the other. A muffled sense of fear was creeping into his heart, as if by habit instead of genuine feeling. Is it safe to travel alone here, where Devils prey on humans? What would they do to someone who’s soulless? Does he even know where he’s going?

Would he be able to find the Devil again?


------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

Our Dearly Departed

______ __________
12th of June 1872 - 5th of January 1898

Today we say our goodbyes to ______ __________, a renowned hunter, zailor, a loving friend. Only a handful had returned from her last northbound expedition. The zhip had crashed, unsalvageable, and ______’s zailors refuse to speak of what had happened.

______ is survived by only her brother and sister. A symbolic funeral shall be held at the delta of the Thames and the Unterzee, in a week’s time with the midnight bell’s chime.

May her soul find peace.


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
Perhaps, it was all for something.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All shall be well.

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
+3 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

1/19/2020
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

The passage of time truly is a bewildering concept when one wills to give it thought. Not in the way where it might lack sense, rather in the way of the human mind being unequipped to fully comprehend Time’s full quirks and reaches. A month, at times, might feel like a week. A month, often, might feel like the full extend of a year. A year, rarely, might feel like no time had passed at all.

No matter subjectives or unperceivable truths, there is objectiveness to the comparative length of a year. 12 months; 52 weeks; 365 days; 8,760 hours; 525,600 minutes; 31,536,000 seconds. Today’s is the 53rd edition of our humble paper. A year in the making, truly, and all of it impossible without the help of London’s artistic community.

In the darkness of the Neath still shine lights. In the galleries, the theaters, the smoked back rooms of restaurants. There, brighter than the candles, the creativity of artists radiates luminous iridescence. It is our great honour and privilege to capture a bit of this glamour, to print it onto our pages, to share it with the rest of our remarkable city.

It is my hope that the Gazette has provided you dear readers with at least some amount of entertainment and, perhaps, an amount of joy as well.

We shall, of course, continue further on, and discover new reaches for our as well as your art to blossom within.

Best of regards,

R.


------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Three
Part II
by Cassius Mortemer

“Here we go again…” he whispered. He tried his best to remember the road he took yesterday. He hadn’t been focussing on the way at all. He was too busy asking questions and watching the Devil’s reactions.

He had passed four horse statues (or the same statue four times?) and finally admitted to himself that he had no idea where he was going. Perhaps he should’ve looked for a guide instead? He sat on the edge of what might’ve been a broken statue. Or a fancy rock. He didn’t care, he was too busy moping.

He unfolded the little sketch he drew of the Devil. He had only met the man yesterday. Do the soulless normally get this attached to the devil that takes their soul? Do devils usually rush an Abstraction? He had a friend who got hounded by a devil for weeks before he finally attempted an Abstraction. The devil failed, of course.


A shadow passed over his sketch, making it hard to see. Someone was standing before him. The Author’s gaze shot up, and he locked eyes with a pair of sulphur-fire blue eyes. The man was grinning cruelly at him. It took the Author a moment to recognise the Churlish Devil, who had nearly made him an Infernal Hunt participant the day before.

The Author sprang to his feet but the Churlish Devil planted a hand on his shoulder, pushing him back down.
“Now, now, no need to rush...” he purred. “Where’s your little friend?”
The Author didn’t say anything. He couldn’t, he wouldn’t, he didn’t want to. The Churlish Devil tightened his grip.
“It’s not nice to stare,” he said. It almost sounded like a threat.

The Author attempted to weasel out of the Devil’s grip. An awkward roll of the shoulder, a little shimmy to the side. The Devil didn’t hold on, instead watching him with idle interest. Like a cat watching a lizard wriggle and run before he tears its skin off with his fangs. He grabbed the Author by the collar before he could get too far away.

“I seem to recall your little friend breaking something of mine…” the Devil said, pulling the Author close. The Devil’s chest pressed to the Author’s back, and his free hand grabbing on to the Author’s bicep.
“Please let go of me…” the Author said. The Devil leaned his face close to the Author’s neck and took a deep breath. Every muscle in the Author’s body was telling him that now would be an excellent time to run, perhaps. Only for self-preservation purposes, of course.

The Churlish Devil hesitated… then started laughing.
“He took your soul, eh? Ha! Didn’t know he had it in him.” He roughly pushes the Author away, sending him stumbling. He caught himself, barely.

“Well, I no longer have any use for you. But that doesn’t mean my time would be wasted…” the Devil said. “I’ll give you a five second head start. If you get away, you’re safe. At least for some time. But if you don’t…” the Devil only smirked. The Author didn’t waste any time. He bolted before the Devil could say ‘go’.


(Un)Holy Night
by Chronic Dreamer

Two of my friends and I raced to the city center on bicycles, all of us having started from various points around the city. The brown multi-storied buildings were primarily of the Tudor style; a few modern sensibilities accented the buildings, such as shingled roofs and windows on the lower levels bastioned by iron bars. Other than the three of us, the city was desolate.

I had been the last one to arrive which made me the last to have my wish granted by The Crimson Beast. The building — that The Beast had propped their tent on the lawn of — towered over us with white columns and cold trim. Bearing a wide berth, it pushed all the other buildings away with well-groomed green. The building accented a much smaller white tent housing myriad musical instruments and mixing tables in which waited the wishing fairy (previously The Beast). Her violet hair floated freely as if in water and she drifted free from the shackles of gravity. She listened to one of my friends, the one who was the second to arrive. The first to arrive had already received their wish, and they were kept as a liquid in a tall-necked, deep-blue vase.

I already knew this was to be our fate; it had happened to me the previous time I had made a wish. That time, I was unaware of the process and shocked to find myself melted into a liquid and kept in a bottle. I watched as the universe around me slowly folded in on itself, molding itself to where my wish became the altered reality. For those around me, this was instantaneous; for me, I had to wait for the eternity to end and circle back to the point where I had uttered my wish.

When my second friend melted into the eternal liquid, I stepped up to make my wish. I joked with the fairy of how we had done this dance before and how I wanted a different wish, this time. Before I could express my wish, and after I had made the off comment, angels in sharp suits came into existence, seized me, and flew me away by my shoulders. They ferried me to the foyer of a drab office building, the whole place in a tumult.

Something evil had been re-born because of my wish, I had overheard. Ordinarily, they would have perceived each and every time the universe looped, and kept that evil under their watchful eyes and in their made prison. My wish, they did not know about. The evil being, called Noah by the angels, had been able to escape its imprisonment. During the singular point in time, the gap between where the previous universe ended and my wish universe began, Noah escaped its bonds with its will of wrath and gave itself birth in the new world.

The other side of the foyer, next to the hallway of office rooms, faded away to reveal a dirt path that wound through a neatly kept wooded area. On the path trod an adult male holding tightly to a baby wrapped in a serene blanket. The angels cross the threshold, frightening the man and poised to execute the infant. My sense of morality was thrown into conflict. I did not want a baby to die, but I knew that if it is true evil it must. I am unable to decide its fate.


------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

Prolific Paper Reaches One Year In Age

Which is, of course, both a truth and jest on this humble reporter’s part. The bottom line, of course, is information.

In the next year of The Goosey Gazette, a few changes and improvements:

The Gazette is now under the label of the Word & Press printing agency, who provide us with new possibilities of form.

The Gazette is still under the ownership of one R. J. Frogvarian, which guarantees a wealth of content.

The Gazette is still here to serve its readers, which guarantees integrity.

All in all, there are positive changes on the horizon for a humble growing paper.

Wish you all the best, London.


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
Perhaps, it is good.
Resting

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Resting,
It is what it is, and it will be what it shall be.

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
+3 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

1/19/2020
The Goosey Gazette turns one today!

Or, technically, one and a week - however, it is precisely a year since the very first edition had been published.

I would like to say many thanks to everyone who has submitted over this year, it would be quite literally impossible to lift of if it weren't for you.

In some exciting news, we have a website now! Go check it out:
https://gooseygazette.art.blog

Exciting stuff! The site is, of course, heavily under construction, so pardon the look of it.

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
+3 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

2/2/2020
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

Self-embetterment is to be taken one step at a time. Progress is seldom rapid, and even then most commonly on the larger scales. It all starts with a promise, a promise to the self, a promise to friends, a promise to the audience.

Promise improvement, and support will follow. Yes, even in these pursuits, humans are creatures of society. We lift each other up and help each other grow as the needs of our social circle expand. To allow oneself help can be daunting, especially for the entrepreneurial soul so used to relying only on its own powers. To limp on a shoulder of a friend is to make the most dangerous of trust falls.

Aforementioned steps are to be taken with care as well as courage. It is not a blind battle to be fought, rather a premeditated match to be won. Hardships of the mind arise in such times, yet with dedication, determination, and diligence even the wiles of one’s doubts can be overcome.

Most importantly, there is a need for time. As the best wines are the oldest, as cheese ages in cellars, human improvement cannot happen overnight. Do not, however, look to the future as if it were present. Realisation of one’s current needs is what drives us towards the future we desire and deserve.

Look to love, London.


------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Three
Part III
by Cassius Mortemer

The Author couldn’t breathe.
It was an oddly curious sensation, really. He supposed the lack of a soul explained his general lack of fear. He also didn’t remember being such a weak runner. How did he even get out yesterday? Perhaps the lack of fear made him self-conscious, which in turn was slowing him down. He pushed those thoughts out of his head. No time for thinking.


He had a good rhythm going, jumping over rocks and rubble and ill-maintained roads. He could hear the Churlish Devil laughing in the distance. He had no doubt in his mind that even the slightest rest could be the end of him. He wouldn’t dare look back.

The Author vaulted over the ruins of a wall and immediately regretted it. His foot caught the edge, and he went sprawling into dust and cobwebs. Cobwebs? Oh no. Long sheets of sticky grey webs stuck to his clothes like tomb colonist bandages. Clumsily he got to his feet, continuing his run with prayers on his mind.

Except he didn’t get much farther. Where previously he could’ve sworn was an open courtyard, was now an unnecessarily sturdy stone wall. And to his left. And his right! He was boxed in, and the Churlish Devil was almost on him. Part of him hoped that the Introverted Devil will save him. The rest of him knew that was unlikely.

He was faced with an awful ultimatum: attempt to fight back, or succumb to his fate? The latter sounded less painful. But the former…

The Author leaned against the wall that now trapped him. Covered in sorrow spider webs and dust. Soulless and lost. Is this what they meant by ‘curiosity killed the cat’? If he had left the Introverted Devil alone, would he be any safer? The Churlish Devil jogged over, grinning smugly. The Author squeezed his eyes shut and turned his face away…

It was another curious sensation. The Author assumed the Devil must’ve crushed his windpipe, because his throat hurt considerably. That, and he couldn’t breathe. The Author felt like crying. Felt like cursing his luck and screaming in frustration. He didn’t, of course. He just knew that’d be something he’d do. He was vaguely aware of the stone wall scraping against his back. Oh, he was falling. He had fallen. Ah yes, and he was feeling cold now. He remembered dying before. Perhaps once or twice.
The Author woke up in a slow boat passing a dark beach on a silent river.
“What…?” he said. “But I’m soulless...” It sounded more like a question than a statement.
The other two passengers eyed him, but said nothing. The Boatman was grinning at him (not that he had a choice, otherwise).
“The Soul is complicated” the Boatman said. He was too preoccupied playing chess to further elaborate.

The Author found himself feeling… bored. All that drama and an echo of despair, for the same old result. Is getting his soul back worth it, when it’s seemingly most important function turns out to be false? What’s the point, then? The Author’s gaze fell onto the far bank. The far country. Death. He squinted, trying to see details. He could almost see…


“Bah!” the Chess-Playing Passenger said. The Author jumped and sat up straight. Perhaps not. The Passenger decided that now was a good time to take a break, catch their breath, and not smash the chessboard. The Chessboard… That’s how he got back, last time. Would the Boatman remember him? The Author took a seat and started setting up the board. The Boatman was only half caring.


Memories and Roses, Part I
by Professor Wensleydale.
“Professor?”
“How many times do I have to tell you, I’m not buying your- why, Bishop! What brings you here?”
“I require you to restore an epic, and perhaps modernize it.”
“Any old ______ would do. Why me?”
“Because all the others refused.”
“What?”
“Not to mention, your department seems to imply that you are the most qualified.”

At this I leaned in.

“What language is it in?”
“Correspondence.”
“Oh no.”
“Oh, yes.”


You’ve gained 1* Surface-Rose Petal(new total 3).Renown: the Church is increasing…
A twist in your tale! You are now Restoring an Epic.




------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

An Exquisite Marriage - A Bond Of The Lethal Nightmare And The Melancholic End-Bringer

The two started out as the usual, modest couple. Days of courting and days of dates. Those bewedded know the pains of preparations, the legalities and the celebrations. Guest lists and wine, venues and sighs, all for the perfect wedding occasion.

The proposal came, by all accounts, rather fast, yet it was all but unexpected. The couple’s wonderous romantic alchemy is, after all, rather obvious, even tangible.

The affair was private. Very few were permitted inside; the venue was one of the Bazaar’s own. Intimate, truly, a precious thing in these times. We can, of course, only speculate upon the proceedings within.

The guest list of the proceeding celebration was, to state bluntly, exquisite beyond belief. Many a character had found themselves congratulating the happy couple; though most wish to stay anonymous, there have been sightings of several Masters of the Bazaar, prominent women of London, and a well-known Midnighter.

We at the Gazette wish the newlywed couple all the best in their married life. It can be tough, it can be dreadful, it can be the pinnacle of ecstasy. It will be what you make of it, with determination and hard work. Love is nothing if not a challenge of will.

As the courier states: Look to love, always!


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
Am I, perhaps, on the verge of mediocrity?
Gray

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Gray,
I am afraid we all are, at some point in our lives.

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
+3 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

2/9/2020
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

There is an importance to being idle, like a vast oasis of leisure. All one can sometimes do is lay back with a cup of tea and blurred words on a page. There are such lulls in all of our lives.

Sometimes, perhaps, we are not as grateful for them. Just a trifle for those who care not for work, we think, a tool of the lazy to pamper their souls. We do not think that, perhaps, our soul needs to be pampered as well.

Other times still, perhaps, such moments are a terrifying void of awaiting resolutions. A true, actual lull in time, when nothing seems to move. A vastness of time through which we have to trudge second, by second, by second, by second. There is no doing, there is only the attempt to survive until the next page of this chapter of our lives.

Whichever reason we may have, well, it is important to not get lost in the why. Perhaps, still, one can simply enjoy a small, tiny, break.


------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

A Compilation of the Good Bits- Credited, of Course, and put together in such a way that it makes no goddamn sense
Compiled by Professor Wensleydale.

I then found my rival, writing a film of slanderous material. The Devil looked mockingly offended. “Me? Insult one of our best associates?” I ran in the general direction of the noise. Just like my mother. The Neath grows dark in their absence. This opportunity is mine, and mine alone. This wasn’t exactly planned. An old woman gingerly entered the hall. I only take the cup and shake it a while. I already knew this was to be our fate.

Credit where it is due:
Wolf Grim Rine
Reinol von Lorica
Rowley Ruskin
Tuesday Next
RJ Frogvarian
Chronic Dreamer



Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Three
Part IV
by Cassius Mortemer

It must’ve been a dozen games now. The Boatman didn’t care, even if he lost every single one of them. People of little importance do not matter to him, especially those as inexperienced as the Author. With each win, the Author felt a little stronger, sat up a bit straighter. Then, a sudden light! The Author nearly fell out of his bed, gasping. Everything hurts. But he’s alive. The Author tried to make sense of his surroundings: squeaking bed, dusty shelves, faded carpet... How did he get back home?

There was a note on his bedside table. No, not a note; a poster for Dante’s Grill. ‘Devilishly Delicious,’ was written in the strange, flat and rigid-yet-flowing style that devils are so fond of. Nothing had serifs, and it just seemed… off. Nevermind that. There was handwriting on the back.

‘Try harder next time,’ it read. ‘The moment you wake up, meet me here.’
It was unsigned.

Now, a sane man might be wary. Even some insane men might be wary. The Author, however, was already forgetting what suspicion felt like. He had no reason to be scared. Even if he had, he couldn’t remember what feeling scared felt like. Might as well, right? He had nothing better to do. Perhaps this person knew where the Introverted Devil was.


That person was… the Churlish Devil.

The Author had never been to Dante’s, first and foremost. It’s relatively exclusive and the only way gentlepersons such as himself can afford it is by being invited by a more important gentleperson. The Churlish Devil had been waiting for him outside, grinning. His brilliant Infernal Hunter’s uniform was replaced by a ‘simple’ navy suit and a rather bright cravat.

“Quite a long nap you took,” he commented.
“You’re the one who invited me?”
The Devil didn’t answer. He walked into the building, feeling that should be indication enough of his intentions. It worked, at least. The Devil found them a seat near a window, and the Author sat opposite to him.

“Why am I here?” he asked. The Churlish Devil gazed at him with those sulphur-fire-blues (he wasn’t wearing any dark tinted glasses, as Devils often tend to do). A fanged smirk. His eyes flickered to a menu on the table.
“Because I’m curious as to what sort of man you are. Coffee?”
The Author ignored the question.
“But why?”
The Devil didn’t answer him. A Devilless had arrived to take their orders, and the Churlish Devil decided for the Author. The Devilless left, and the Devil turned his gaze to the window.
“What is your opinion on sorrow spiders?”
“You didn’t answer my question,”
“How about poisons or venoms? Which is worse, in your opinion?”
“Please answer my question…”

The Devil finally turned his gaze back to the Author.
“It’s related to your soul,”
“What about it? Do you know where it is?”
“How do you like snakes?”

For perhaps an hour (perhaps more), the conversation continued in this fashion. They had lunch (it certainly was as devilishly delicious as advertised) and the Devil kept asking questions relating to the Author’s fears. When they finished up, the Devil was the first to leave his seat.
“Ladybones,” was the last thing the Churlish Devil said before they parted ways.


------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

Feast Of The Exceptional Rose Celebrates Lovers Once Again

Dearest London, the time has come again for the wonders of love. Clandestine balls in the mist invite even the most compliant members of high echelons to forget their uptight ways and softly fall into the arms of a stranger. Now, more than ever, is the time to reach your beloved’s heart. We at the Gazette, of course, recommend the true and tried ways of deepening a bond, rather than today’s trend of turning over one’s pockets to pay for expensive gifts and trifles.

For those struggling for ideas, it is of course our pleasure to provide inspiration:

Challenge to find each other at a masked ball.
The rush of the unknown is, of course, the cornerstone of many a London festivity, Feast of the Rose being no exception. Being able to find your beloved among a vast, masked crowd truly is a test of love. If, perhaps, you end up falling into the arms of another, well the situation may solve itself still in new and exciting ways.

Take a walk in the lesser known corners of the near-London area.
A romantic walk never hurts, and one full of exploration (and lack of prying eyes) is a very sought-after commodity. We, of course, cannot reveal these unknown corners, as it would defeat the purpose of the exercise. A means of defense (just in case) is recommended and remember - in darkness, clothes are optional!

Partake of a delicious meal together - perhaps prepare it together as well!
The heart is reached through the stomach, and a bond can be only deepened by preparing a lovely dinner with your beloved. Culinary art, as any art, is for anyone!

[Due to the unspeakable salaciousness of this advice, the printing press owners refused (through red cheeks) to even touch it.]

We do hope, dear London, that this article truly inspires you to spend a time of quality with those that you love this festival season.

Look to Love, London!


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
Is there solace for the cowardly?
Sigh

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Sigh,
None, only the flames you set to yourself.
edited by Frogvarian on 2/9/2020

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
+2 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

2/16/2020
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

It is my hope that my countless tirades on love have not gone out of fashion, or worse yet, out of the want of minds. Perhaps, even in such dire circumstances, this season of love is an acceptable time to indulge one’s waxing and waning thoughts.

It is a choice for all of us to pursue the matters of one’s heart; of course, we cannot choose when these matters strike, or which target our heart’s arrow shall aim towards. All one can hope for is for the alignment of circumstances, a fortuitous occurrence within one’s heart and one’s mind. A conjoining of one’s interests and one’s primal desires.

It is, of course, not a crime to not follow one’s heart. Emotions may sway us towards a goal, yet the mind knows such goals can be, ultimately, destructive. It is wise, then, to pave the road with caution. It is hard to know what is good for one’s self. Warnings of one’s own body are to not be taken lightly.

I find it hard to know what the correct choice is.

Perhaps, one day, the heart and the mind will cease their fray of hauntings and release one’s spirit from their hostage.


------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Four
Part I
by Cassius Mortemer

Ladybones Road; A district and a street in the West end of Fallen London. Most notably known for attracting spies and detectives, and is the center of Hell’s businesses. It houses the base of operations for devils in London: a Hell away from Hell in the Brass Embassy, not too far from Dante’s Grill...

“Why didn’t I think of checking here first…” the Author asked no one in particular.

The Brass Embassy stood tall and brassy, with glowing windows of emeralds, rubies and topaz. Abstract patterns, strange dials and springs, winding pipes… It looked like a massive, vaguely building-shaped engine of some colossal machine. Devils walked the streets, gossiping, shopping, going about their own business in their flamboyant fashions. Oh dear lord. How was he supposed to navigate around here?

At least, he supposed, the Introverted Devil will stand out in the crowd.

The Author aimlessly wandered down the streets around the Brass Embassy. Devils, on multiple occasions, approach him with confident smiles… only for their interest to falter once they realize that his soul had already been taken. He left a trail of disappointment wherever he went. At least that didn’t change.

“You seem lost, dear,” a Curious Devilless purred. He waited until it was clear that she wasn’t going to leave, despite his lack of soul, then he answered.
“I’m looking for a friend,” he said.
“Oh? Perhaps I know them.”

Somehow, the Author doubted that. But he told her all identifying information he knew. At least, what he remembered at that moment.
“Are you sure he’s a devil? Did he have a fork?”
“No”
“He doesn’t sound like a devil, are you sure?”
“Yes”
“Entirely su-”
“Madam, I’m very sure of it. His eyes shone like brass,”

The Deviless considers the information for a moment longer. A slender finger tap-tapping a soft cheek.
“Could it be the fellow I saw before?” she asked herself. The Author waited - patiently - for elaboration.

“You know, I may have seen someone like that heading for Clathermont’s Tattoo Parlour just a few moments ago!”
Clathermont’s, known for being the spies of London’s favourite haunt. The Author never pegged the Devil for a player of the Game.

“Thank you,” the Author said, “I’m sure I’ll find who I’m looking for.”
The Author turned to leave, straight to Clathermont’s… and the Devilless followed him. The Author ignored her for now. Perhaps she’ll go away? The Author had more pressing matters than wondering why a Devilless is following a soulless man. Like finding his soul.

Soon, the giggling devillesses and flamboyant devils were replaced by couriers, aspiring detectives, and (unsurprisingly) more dull-faced citizens who had recently lost their souls.

There. Clathermont’s Tattoo Parlour. The Curious Deviless giggled behind the Author. They crossed the road. There. He could see people inside. He opened the door. A bell clinked above him. No one paid him any mind. There. A figure dressed in all black, his back facing the door.
It had to be him. Blond hair curling out from beneath a hat (the devils called them fedoras). Narrow shoulders. Slender fingers. But the Author hesitated. No, there is no time for that. He took a breath, readying himself to speak as he approached the Devil. The Devil followed one of the ladies he had been talking to around a corner. The Author jogged after him, but what is this? As soon as he rounded the very same corner, they were already out of sight.


------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

Dreams Of Weddings - The Shopkeeper In Viric Blesses Londoners!

This Feast of the Exceptional Rose, an exquisite new opportunity has show its wings. Wearing a suit painted in Viric has set up shop for those seeking thrill and romance. Four persons of prominence have provided experiences for the Shopkeeper to distribute, all of which, of course, shall remain anonymous within our little paper.

Once one has purchased a dream, chosen the desired qualities, and signed a contract, a whole lifetime of married life comes to them in their sleep. Over three periods of sleep, to be precise - three sessions of dreams, three seasons of romance within three nights.

Naturally, our reporters have tested these dreams, and we must say - it is no scam! This, dear London, is the genuine article experience! To the very end, yes, the dreams are immaculate, and the Viric is strong. What could one learn from the love of these Londoners? If you have the echoes to spare, dear London, we encourage you - visit the Shopkeeper in Viric! A true artist of dreams.


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
Is she the one?
Pining

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Pining,
I fear it is impossible tell through such inaction - intent, after all, is not pursuit.

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
+2 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

2/23/2020
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

Is it shameful for a rope-walker to use a safety net?

There is certain pride in all of us. Whether it is the result of upbringing or other powers is difficult to say, yet it is easy to spot such pride in anyone. Polite refusals, charitable donations, worse yet - shaming the need for help. It is easy for one to forget their own vulnerability, to fail to see it in others. With a lion’s mane we hold our head high and refuse to budge, even as the world crumbles around us.

Would it be shameful for a drowning man to be heaved onto a raft? For one stuck in a burning prison to want someone to douse the flames? The immediate dangers are not the only ones threatening our very existence; it is our duty to be cognizant of them and strive to eliminate them, even if that means needing help.

I come with a plea; a plea to never forget those who care about you. Find it within yourself to burst through the shield of pride and grasp the helping hand held out for you.

It does the world no good for you to drown.


------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Four
Part II
by Cassius Mortemer

How fast…? A hand on his shoulder. A big one. It’s Mr Clathermont.
“Can I help you, sir?” he asked the Author. He got the impression that Mr Clathermont didn’t expect business from him.
“I thought I saw a friend of mine…” he muttered in monotone. Mr Clathermont let him go.
“You must’ve been mistaken,” he said. “Tattoo?”


The Author had left without further word. The Curious Deviless was still following him. The Author stopped and sighed.
“Madam, why are you still following me?” he asked.
“Because I want to see the love story unfold!”

The Author furrowed his brows. Love story?
“This isn’t a love story,”
“Sure it is!”
“It’s not,”
“You just don’t realize it yet!”
“Madam-”
“Look out for the hansom cab, dear”

The what…? The Author looked to the side, and surely there was a cab speeding towards him! His breath got caught in his throat and he squeezed his eyes shut. He was still in the middle of the road! That’s very careless of him. Shouldn’t the cab have hit him by now? The Author opened one eye, parting of him expecting the Devil to have stopped the cab in the nick of time. Just like in the novels he likes to write.

Disappointment. The cab had simply went around the Author. The Deviless was grinning.


“I know what you were hoping for,” she taunted. Normally the Author might’ve found something to throw the Deviless with by now. This time, he simply sighed in dismay.
“I can’t feel anything…” he said, and got off the road. The Deviless placed a sympathetic hand on his shoulder.

“You will,” she promises.

The Author knew he could believe her. He knew he should believe her. That’s how getting your soul back works. But his thoughts kept turning back to the Introverted Devil, and the fear of never catching up to him. Well. Suppose one can’t exactly call it fear.


The Author spent the rest of the afternoon wandering to and fro, over and around Clathermont’s Tattoo Parlour. He didn’t see the Devil again. The Devilless followed him, tirelessly, with that little grin on her face.

“Perhaps you should hide in the shop overnight, waiting for him tomorrow? Oh, oh, or you can leave a few fake secrets and clues for him to follow! You’ll lure him out like that if he’s a spy. He did rather seem like a curious sort, at least. How about-”

She went on. He ignored her.

The Author must’ve walked all over Ladybones road that afternoon, trying to think of any possible places where the Devil might’ve gone. Even the Devilless got tired of talking after a while. She didn’t leave, sadly. Eventually the Author’s shoulders sagged and his footsteps stilled. He ran out of ideas. It’s time to go home.

A gentle nudge. It was the Devilless.
“Here. My calling card. If you need information on devils,” she said. She gave a curtsey, then left for her own home. Leaving the Author alone again.


------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

A Theatrical Escape - Clay Refuge On The Run From Law

In the morning fog of this week’s Thursday, a clay man was seen running by the banks of the river Thames. In his wake, a dozen constables armed with batons and accompanied by trained hounds.

According to the police statement, this clay man of interest worked as a stagehand at a local theater up until recent weeks when he reportedly disappeared. Around the same time, a series of mysterious murders swept through the theater, targeting prominent guests and actors.

With the help of several private investigators, the constabulary had managed to determine the next victim. A trap was set and on the day of the murder, armed forces rushed to the stage box just as the the decoy was losing consciousness, her neck roped, a clay man looming over her. Wasting no time for pleasantries, the clay man jumped over the railing and ran through the door - which brings us back to the chase.

This clay man had been on the run for several days, details of the reasons for murder are yet unknown. More on this story as it develops.


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
Perhaps I have not failed.
Hope

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Hope,
I would be afraid for far different reasons.

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
0 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

3/1/2020
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

Treasures of the world are always worth preserving. Too many have fallen victim to the frivolities of ancient demagogues. In the name of God and country they eradicate what is not theirs and erase records to fit their own narrative.

Standing up to the status quo may seem like a task too big for the most regular of persons, yet it is the careful preservation which gives treasures of the past the life and glory they deserve. Defiance need not be another activity for the frivolous elite. Any one can participate simply by refusing to let the endangered die, to preserve what one’s culture deems important.

As with all things, it is not a perfect science, a clear-cut result. It is up to one’s own judgement to distinguish the true gems from poison-filled vials. As with all things, exhibit care in the choice of preservation. Hate shall not persist through time; only love can break the cycle.

It is, perhaps, the duty of us all to fight for our history.


------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Four
Part III
by Cassius Mortemer

It felt like ages.

For the next few days, the Author had paced his study, wandered around Ladybones Road, and annoyed the guards at the old honey dens. When he wasn’t in London, he was searching for inspiration elsewhere. But by now he was getting antsy, and he had a feeling that it was related to the ever-growing piles of empty honey jars. A lack of soul clearly doesn’t impact a bad habit. He stood by his desk, brooding at a small sulphur-scented square of paper.

He couldn’t do this alone.

And several hours later, he wasn’t doing it alone. The Curious Devilless was waiting for him outside, smiling.
“You’re fast,” the Author remarked. The Devilless flashed a fanged set of teeth at him.
“I was in the neighbourhood,”

The Devilless strolled down the street without another word. She took him all the way to Spite before the Author finally thought to ask.
“About the letter…”
“I can help you, yes. I have my theories, but I think I know where your infernal paramour has gone,”
“He’s not my paramour,”
“Have you ever heard of Mt Palmerston?”
“Is that the mountain-monster that some of the zailors whisper about?”
“That’s Mt Nomad, dear”
“Then no.”

The Devilless stayed silent for a few moments, smiling wistfully for dramatic effect. She spoke as the Author opened his mouth.
“It’s a place in the north, where devils often go to retire,” she said.
The Author thought of the Devil. He was younger than most devils, that was clear. Perhaps even naive.

“Why would he want to go there?” he asked.
“Because zailors often smuggle their best souls to Mt Palmerston. That, and it has a nifty volcano, if you understand me correctly,”

The Author’s blank stare told her that he did not, in fact, understand her.
“He’s not going to sell your soul,”
More staring. The Devilless’ smile faltered, blown away by a sigh.
“Do you want me to spell it out for you? He’s going to throw your soul into the volcano.”

The Author watched the road, wordless.

“I can arrange a ship for you,” the Devilless offered. “Passenger fees aren’t particularly expensive. But it’s a long journey, and a terribly treacherous one at that.”
Still, not a word. The Devilless’ smile had returned. She had him now. She knew what was coming next.

“Is getting your soul back worth it? For a demon you met a few days ago?”
The answer was immediate.
“Of course it is.”

A satisfied grin. A brief silence. For dramatic effect, of course.
“I’ll speak to my contacts. You’ll have a captain willing to take you to Mt Palmerston and back in two days’ time. You can meet me at the Wolfstack Docks then.” She scribbled a time and a name onto a loose piece of paper in her purse and handed it to the Author. And then she was gone, as quick as she arrived.

The Author was alone again.


------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

Politically Engaged Starvation - A Performance Piece Or A Serious Tactic?

A group of fourteen Bazaar deniers have taken residence in Trafalgar Square. They have set down stools around Nelson’s Column and chained themselves together, arm to arm and leg to leg, in a circle all around the monument.

The supposed leader of these political artists, identified as one J_____ T_____, proclaimed that the group is on a hunger strike, refusing to consume any sustenance in protest of the Bazaar.

“We will not stand down!” J_____ proclaimed to the press, “We will continue our fight, whatever methods necessary, ‘till the Masters stand down and the Bazaar releases London from its grasp!”

The only master reachable for comment was one Mr Pages, who stated:
“I assure you we do not commend this provocacille. The disruptive elements shall be handled with intermost scrupulitude - and we make no promises to be delicate.”

Constabulary officials have also taken camp nearby the protesters, monitoring their activity, though so far it appears they truly mean to keep to their promise of a hunger strike. No private investigators have taken up the reigns of the case; further negotiations are thereby postponed.

Despite the group’s rhetoric and ideals, it is yet unclear what they intend to achieve with their activism, though theories of raising general awareness or this being a simple performance piece of the revolutionaries have arisen.


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
Am I trying too hard?
O. Think

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Think,
It may be the natural state of things, yet there are limits which one should adhere to.

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
+1 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

3/8/2020
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

I am afraid I have been losing grasp on the world lately. Very slowly, in almost the most nonsequential of ways, yet each little thing sticks to another. Together they grow and bustle and destroy any certainty I might have thought I have. So much progress lost, it seems. One can hardly know what to make of it all.

As all coins do, so this one has two sides. Each little thing, a word here, a phrase there, countless interactions. Each little thing makes me rethink; reconsider; take a new perspective on my own being. My own ideas and actions and way of life. Perhaps, still, there is a chance of returning better.

Such is life of self-uncertainty, perhaps. Rises and falls, as all humans have, though the climbs and the falls are blind. One might even consider them a straight path, in the end. For who truly knows what lies ahead when one does not even attempt to steer for so long.

As all things, this too shall pass.

------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Four
Part IV
by Cassius Mortemer

She was waiting for him when he arrived.

“Are you ready for your trip across the zee?” she asked him. He had two large suitcases with him. He didn’t seem particularly excited.
“I’m not sure,” he drops his luggage and looks around. The Devilless was alone.
“Where’s the captain?” he asked. A voice much deeper than the Devilless’ greeted them.

Someone rather tall and scarred came from somewhere behind the Author. Arms like pigs’ thighs, a chest as broad as the unterzee... This Captain surely knew more than the average swashbuckler. And If they didn’t, they most likely wrestled whatever stood in their way.

“Darling, this is Captain Hardt,” the Devilless said. “They will be taking you to Mt Palmerston. And back home, if need be.”
The Captain grunted in agreement. A person of few words…! Lovely.

Brief introductions, luggage hauling, excitable zailors yelling or singing (or both) followed, and in seemingly no time the Author was in a cabin all by himself. This was going to be a very long trip.

The Author barely got absorbed in one of the penny dreadfuls he brought along before he heard yelling and commotion outside.
“What the hell…?” he asked as he swung his legs over the edge. Cannons fired. The Author jerked and covered his ears too late.

Three… four… five… six seconds of silence. Is it over? The Author crept to the door, ears still covered, just in case. He nudged the door handle with his elbow. No luck. It wouldn’t open. He had to let go. His thungering heartbeat made his hand shake as he pried it away from his head, and dropped it to the handle. He turned. The moment it budged he covered his ears and shouldered the door open.

He stumbled into the hallway as another blast of cannonfire shook the ship. The captain was yelling orders at the zailors. The Author couldn't figure out what the crisis was. All around them is pitch black, with only the false-stars above and the ship lights ahead cutting through the darkness. But the cannons weren’t firing to where the light shone. There, near the coast. Something large jutting out of the black Unterzee. It seemed to be… moving?

“I bloody hate Lifebergs!” the first officer grumbled as she passed the Author to join her crew.
“Can’t we just go around it?” the Author whined. A nearby zailor laughed.
“Captain doesn’t just go around a zee beast!” another said, before unleashing another blast of cannons. The Author barely covered his ears in time.

The Author’s head was pounding and his ears were ringing by the time the blasted thing was defeated. The crew was terribly jolly. The Author was somewhat less so.

“So, ah… how long is this trip going to take, exactly?” The Author asked while zailors worked on fishing out the remains of the previously sentient zee mountain.
“Good question!” a zailor answered. No one continued for her.
“Does the question have an answer?” the Author pressed.
“Technically. It depends on where Mt Palmerston is,”
“Do you not know?”
The zailors laughed. Something told him that was a question frequently asked by the inexperienced.

This was going to be a very long trip.


Hesperidean
Part I
by Heubristics

There is a party tonight, in the Forgotten Quarter. Brightly coloured pavilions strung with electric lanterns where once were dig sites, tables of food and drinks and sweets placed around statues of fallen kings, a bandstand where a Rubbery oompah band cheerfully honks away...all clustered around a makeshift stage, built in front of what used to be a temple back in the days of the Fourth City.

It is no match for the Carnival, yet there is a substantial crowd present tonight. The Debonair Sharpshooter has advertised this event widely, and word of mouth has spread it wider. He has promised a night of wonder, fun, and the reveal of something that will revolutionize London. And admittance was pennies at most.

They have come from all over London. Hunters from the Hill, pickpockets from Spite, bohemians from the Veilgarden and junior clerks from Ladybones. Dockers from Wolfstacks, urchins from the Flit, servants and courtiers from the Shuttered Palace, keepers from the Labyrinth and spies from Wilmots and illusionists from Mahogany Hall. The working-class and the middle-class and the idle rich mingle freely, attracted by novelty, free food, and the promise of spectacle.

And there is spectacle. The Sharpshooter has called in favors by the score to provide entertainment for the evening. The audience has been treated to a selection of Carnelian poetry by a tiger minister from the Wakeful Court, urchin acrobats that swung on ropes and juggled knives, the showcasing of a genuine Winton Automobile from distant America, a Shroud séance that summoned forth the spirits of Fourth City horsemen, and a series of Third City-era ritual dances performed by an ancient troupe of tomb-colonists.
And yet, all of this was only build-up. Organized and orchestrated by a man with a dream of dubious sanity and a vision of questionable rationality. The lure to attract the crowd before the final act: an act of revelation and of love.


------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

Hidden Killer On The Rise - Authorities Warn Of Congregating

Noxious air is spreading around our dear London. Citizens are dropping like flies with many confirmed cases of infection. So far, the disease has only taken one life permanently, though it had sent many others to the River, with nearly anyone being a possible vector.

Authorities warn that the fumes spread from person to person and thus gatherings and meetings in public spaces are ill-advised. Despite the diseases generally low mortality rate, it is of course best to be safe.

Multiple institutions of learning and even several theaters have already closed their doors for the foreseeable future. Though we at the Gazette do not want to spread false panic, we, too, advise you, dear Londoners, to take care and stay clear of faces with possible infection.

Further investigation into the nature of these fumes is underway, employing doctors, Correspondents, and fortune tellers alike. Opinions of these groups vary, though all agree that it most likely has something to do with the general sins of humanity.

More on this story as it develops.


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
I do believe I like her, you see. The problem is… well, there are multiple problems. Each one more difficult to grasp than the other. I do not like myself. I do not know what the future holds. I am not brave enough, not good enough. Do I simply not care? Or do I torture myself on purpose?
Each day has moments of bravery and cowardice. Where do I even begin?
M.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear M.,
Inaction is the worst of curses. Idle hands are a Devil’s playthings, after all. It takes little to truly achieve one’s goal; determination, that is the first step.
I’m afraid I cannot be much help beyond the vagueness of sage advice. Oh how I wish I could provide some substance, yet how when love is so elusive for us all?
Stay strong, for you still have a reason, you still have friends, you still have a roof over your head, and you still have yourself to whom you should be kind, as kind as to the others you love.
Perhaps, one day, the answer will present itself.

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
+1 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

23 days ago
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

Certain metaphysical theories view the mind as an endless sea of ether. In the ether, thoughts and memories and visions swim about. It is its own, enclosed universe within each individual, a world per every being with a soul. These worlds, the metaphysicists pose, do not cross and, perhaps, do not even exist within the same reality as the person they are bound to.

Such thoughts are, of course, clear and utter nonsense conjured up by raving lunatics who still believe in luminiferousness (and, perhaps, unicorns as well).

The mind, as one may know, is the realization of Law within the individual. Ironically, the theory of mind-ether strikes a cord with one truth - the mind’s essence is light. The light of Law is what breathes life into the Chain, coursing through each being with different intensity. It is not untrue that there are higher beings; it is simply a matter of wherefore they are above.

Only in study of the Law can one know what the mind is truly capable of. Through the study of Correspondence, the language of stars and Law, will the world itself and, by extension, the mind, slowly reveal its secrets. Only through this, the most noble of scientific persuasions, can we discover the truth of thought.

Not for those of feeble mind, the Correspondence brings its challenges. Within a pamphlet on the middle-page spread On the middle-page spread, within an envelope, lies a secured pamphlet with the first steps a secret-seeker needs to peer unto the mind.

May knowledge be forever pursued.


------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Five
Part I
by Cassius Mortemer

It took three stops and seemingly infinite days.
They’ve stopped at Venderbight, the Tomb Colonies north of London. Some dreadful, cold place where people kept asking questions (Weather? Weaver? Wither? What was it called?). A rock full of Correspondence (the Author didn’t even leave his room).

The trip included frequent visits from sentient ice mountains and giant zeefood. They were almost never friendly, and the captain refused to simply go around them. The crewmembers were skittish and sleepless by the time they reached the Unterzee volcano.


They could see it from miles away. The occasional glowing red flicker at the top mountain, the sullen green lights at the jetty’s edge. The port at the base of the volcano smelled of brimstone. Past the port, there was a knee-deep layer of ash. The Author had to go through this alone. The captain and the crew were busy with their own business.

“Up the Brimstone Convention,” the Curious Devilless had told him before he left. “He’ll be there. Waiting”
The Author was putting a lot of trust in the Devilless’ words.

Up the mountain. Warm earth. An endless climb. Soft ash beneath his feet, on his knees, covering his hands and in his mouth. He was barely halfway when he got tired. The Author sat down on a disturbingly warm rock, spitting out ash and shaking the rest out of his hair.

A gentle, sweet voice spoke up behind him.
“I haven’t seen you here before,” she said. The Author nearly threw himself off of his perch. The Wistful Devilless was standing on the disturbed ash trail that the Author had left behind. Not sinking in.
“I’ve never been here before,” the Author finally said. The Devilless looked up the mountain. There was a low, complex drone. Like the buzzing of millions of insects, deep in the earth.
“This way is… unwise for humans,” she said. His eyebrows furrowed as she watched the Author. “And you are soulless. Hmm,”

The Author looked up towards the volcano. “Someone is waiting for me,”
The Devilless crossed her arms. “Well. You look like you could use some rest. Come to my cottage, at least to wash the ash out of your mouth.”

The Author might’ve turned down the nice offer. He didn’t have much time to waste. But the Devilless practically dragged him to her cottage. He’s starting to see a pattern here. The Devilless cleaned him up, even offered him tea.

“Why are you going up there?” she asked him while pouring tea.
“Who do you expect to find up there?”
The Author stared at his cup, wondering if he should answer the question or not.
“He has my soul,” he said at last.
“Who does?”

The Author took a sip of tea. He thought of the Devil who so easily snatched his soul. Not just his soul, but something deeper. Something he remembered at the very edges of his consciousness. An old familiar feeling, now lost to him without his soul.
“Someone I think I’m in love with.”


Hesperidean
Part II
by Heubristics

He could have done without the suit, however.

Hotshot Blackburn looks in the chipped mirror, adjusts his tie, and grimaces. He seemed...vulnerable, somehow, outside of the normal sable uniform. The outfit from Dauncey’s was of impeccable quality, but it just didn’t look right ; the contours slimmed where they should have widened, narrowed where they should have broadened, accentuated youth rather than experience. Even his spectacles - writhing cosmogone lenses, the glasses of a Glazier - seem less impressive without the clothes to back them up. He looked like a freshly graduated Young Stag about to speak in front of a board of investors, wishing he had a cream pie to drop down someone’s trousers and lighten the mood. He looked ridiculous.

But all this was necessary. This wasn’t about his comfort. This was for them. And their safety. If Hotshot Blackburn had to monkey about playing the safe, harmless gentleman to put the potential mob at ease...so be it.

He adjusts his plum tie again and looks slightly less disgruntled, before he turns away from the mirror to the pavilion exit.

“The Kashmiri Princess is off in seven, good luck Blackburn.” “Marksmen and medics are in their positions, let’s hope it’s a boring night eh?” “You’re a madman Blackburn, give ‘em a good show!” “Seamstress and the Expert have taken their seats, the Vesture ambassador is making their way in!” “Ready when you are, Blackburn!”

The Sharpshooter makes his way through a crowd of well-wishers and fellow conspirators. They are among the few in London who are already aware of his secret, of the nature of the act to come. They have helped carry out this plan, build the stage and bring the pavilions and spread word of the event. Revolutionaries, one and all. He murmurs genuine words of appreciation to them, for standing by him.

He hopes they will continue to do so, come what may. As he clears the crowd, he steps toward a small door built into the side of the stage. Behind the door, a sloping ramp leads down into the earth. Here...here is where the final act awaits their cue. Hotshot has long discussed this day with them, and has talked with them even before...but something compels him still to the door. To exchange one last round of words, before it begins.

The Sharpshooter slips down into the darkness. Some time later, he emerges back into the light. What was said between him and the person waiting in the darkness below the stage is only for them to know. He slips back to the steps leading up backstage, ascends, and prepares for the beginning of the final act. He makes his way to the plush magenta curtains that shroud him from the audience, prepares to part them.

A hand reaches out, grabs the Sharpshooter by the coat and twirls him to the side behind a facade column. A familiar face gazes back at him: the soft green eyes and guarded smile of his oldest friend down here. Lord Daniel Whitethorn - the Adamant Progressivist, the Revolutionary Firebrand, Comrade Citizen - shakes his head. “Blackburn,” he nearly whispers, “Blackburn you fool. How many are out there?”

Hotshot beams, but the Progressivist can tell he is genuinely happy. “I dunno. Lost count after the first few dozen. I didn’t specify a limit on plus ones either!”

The Progressivist groans. “There are more than a few dozen, Blackburn. The newspapers are here. The constables are here. The Ministry is here. I’m pretty sure the Royal Family’s around here somewhere!”

Hotshot’s smile never ceases, but his eyes dart slightly. “Masters?”

“Three of them. Hearts, of course. Fires came as soon as we put the automobile on stage. And I’m fairly certain Mr Wines has abused eminent domain laws to claim the alcohol pavilion for itself.”

The Sharpshooter brightens. “Excellent. No plausible deniability then. Let’s see the Decency Evaluators censor their way out of this one.”

A long sigh. “Ski- Hotshot, you know what you are about to do tonight, right?”

“Drag this city kicking and screaming into a new era of cross-species harmony and cooperation?”

“No, I was thinking more like unleash a monstrous abomination on the masses-“
“Don’t call them that,”

“-and make yourself so dangerous to public health you won’t be able to walk out in public without the Constables hunting you down.”

The Sharpshooter falls silent at that. Whitethorn was right, of course. This plan...there was no going back from this. He’d likely burn whatever credibility he had with the Menace Eradicators, the dockers, and many others. A stint in New Newgate wouldn’t be enough to offset this, nor would temporary exile.

But then he thinks of eyes without faces in dark cellars; boneless forms hidden beneath thick coats; the silent breath before a code-phrase is given; children that do not officially exist. His heart resolves.

“Well then,” Hotshot shrugs with a grin, “Let them try and stop me.” He pulls free of Daniel’s grip. “If it does go wrong-“

“When it goes wrong,”

“- if it goes wrong...will you still be here? Beside me?”

Daniel Whitethorn laughs. It is almost like Hotshot remembers, from the college days. “Wouldn’t miss it for the heads of all the crowns in Europe.” He steps back, and tilts his head to hide the smile - and slight blush - from his cheeks. “Alright Blackburn, get this disaster started then!”

Hotshot laughs in return, and bows. He makes his way out from behind the facade column, and back over to the curtains of the temporary theatre. He can hear the clapping and hooting as the Kashmiri Princess - Esmeralda, he thinks - finishes her routine. It is almost time for the big unveiling. The act he has been preparing for years.

Showtime.


Memories and Roses, Part I
The Church
by Professor Wensleydale.

I entered St. Fiacre’s, where I’d be sure to have my wedding, during a normal service. The Bishop wanted me to do this, so I may as well start here.

The sermon was based around Hebrews 11:1; “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Not truly inspirational, but it gave me a couple of ideas.

“Sir? Could you give me a random nugget of wisdom? No? Okay...”

“Madam? Do you have the time to spread some of His word? … I understand.”

This went on for a while, until I left, feeling uplifted and slightly inspired.

Austere is increasing…
Melancholy is increasing…
Nightmares is dropping…
Suspicion is dropping...
Scandal is dropping…
You’ve gained 1*Surface-Rose Petal(new total 4).
Restoring an Epic has increased to 2!



------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

The Tree Of Liberty - A Hesperidean Spider-Council Revealed

In the late evening hours of last week, the Debonair Sharpshooter organized a gathering at a remote square of the Forgotten Quarter for an exquisite reveal.

As the event included wonderous acts, free food and drink, and the revelation of a secret, many a Londoner had turned up, from the bottom of the Flit barrels to the highest echelons of society. Our own Gazette’s reporter had, of course, been present at the event.

The Tree of Liberty, as the Sharpshooter calls the revealed Spider-Council, is indeed a Council of size yet unseen. Hundreds of thousands of sorrow spiders upon each other, clutching and grasping and forming one single, conscious being. It is, truly, a being of immense grace and import. We cannot help but proclaim the reveal, if not the sole existence of this being, an art piece for the ages, an intricate web of beauty and secrecy.

As the Tree was revealed, most of the event attendees had fled, soon to be replaced by the Department of Menace Eradication and the Constabulary. Our own reporter had bravely stayed to see the event to the end, though they are hazy on the details.

In a brief post-reveal interview, Hotshot Blackburn commented on the panic as follows:
“They don’t really understand, not yet, but they will, the significance of this is [incomprehensible] and I tell you now, dear [REDACTED], one day they will love them as much as I do.”

The Tree of Liberty itself only added “Such. Beautiful. Eyes.” before our reporter had to hastily attend to other matters.

The Menace Eradicators and Constables were unable to harm the Council in any significant way before it scutteled away with its protector and progenitor. Its location is as of now unknown, though meetings with several city and Bazaar officials are planned in the following months.

For further information, follow the instructions on pages 5-6.


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
Shall the waters ever clear?
Waiting

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Waiting,
Only in patient diligence may the truth reveal itself.

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
+1 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

16 days ago
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

What does it take for a murder to be unsolvable?

A man had died some time ago. A trail of blood was found in his study, leading out through the window. Signs of struggle were apparent. The door locked, the lock fast secured. Murder weapon lost.

An unknown man entered the house in the morning and has exited since. Witnesses claimed to have heard screams coming from the room that night. The only other person present at the house was the maid, who at the time was preparing dinner. She was not the one to have heard the screams. She was to be the one who had found the room empty.

The man was found after hours of searching, in a distant park, his light nearly faded. A wound in his chest revealed far too much. After an arduous process, medical professionals were able to save his life. The man thanked his survivors, yet was rather tight-lipped as to what had transpired. Indeed, he had refused to even acknowledge any murder attempts, stating that he was instead attacked by a wild dog during his daily stroll around.

In fact, the blood in the study was fresh, yet the blood under the carpet was weeks old.

What had happened to the man who entered the house that morning?


------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Five
The End
by Cassius Mortemer

“And this person is a Devil?” the Devilless asked. The Author nodded. A moment passed.
“He might not love you,” the Devilless finally said. “At least, not in the same way.”
“That’s my own problem. I just need my soul back.”
Another moment, longer this time.

“I suppose I can’t stop you, then. Do yourself a favour, however…” she puts her cup down. “Don’t listen.”
The conversation, unsurprisingly, went stale after that. The Author finished his tea, thanked the Devilless for her hospitality, and went straight back out to face the volcano once again.

Buzzing. Buzzing, burning, complex and overwhelming. A constant droning only getting louder and louder. The ash was even thicker here, sticking to his sweaty skin. Slowly, he made his way to the top.

The Author looked up. He was getting close. He could feel the buzzing deep in his bones, rattling his very being. He searched along the faintly glowing edge for something. Anything. A silhouette, a sign, an end, anything.

There! The Introverted Devil, standing with his back turned to the Author. Staring into the volcano. He held something in his hand… a bottle of sorts? It glowed faintly blue. But he’s here. He really is here. The Curious Devilless was right.

Keep going, the Author urged himself. So close… so close. The buzzing was making his teeth chatter. He could almost hear words now. So close… The Author opened his mouth. He was yelling but he couldn’t hear it. And then his vision faded to red and grey.


He woke up in the Devilless’ cottage. But it wasn’t the Deviless looking at him. Another pair of eyes stared at him, the colour of…
“Sunlight…” the Author mumbled. The Introverted Devil smiled in relief.
“Strictly speaking, I should burn your ears off,” the Wistful Devilless said, pouring them some tea. “But I suppose you didn’t get a chance to hear something you shouldn’t have.”

She cast a disapproving gaze at the Devil.
“And you. You are an idiot. But I suppose wisdom comes with age, and you clearly have neither,”
The Introverted Devil gave her a sheepish grin and shrugged his shoulders lamely. “Sorry, ma’am.”
“Hm.”

The Author sat up. He felt different. He felt. His heart was thundering in his chest, his hands were shaking. What is this? Relief? Fear? Uncertainty? ...Love?
He threw his arms around the Devil.
“If you ever snatch my soul again, I will push you into that volcano!”

The Devil laughed and returned the hug. The Wistful Devilless sighed.
“The Embassy looks down on Devils who fall in love. I advise you to find your own way somewhere else. Might I suggest down in the Port? I hear Port Carnelian is also nice. As are a number of places out in the Unterzee. Or you could become zailors and explore together.”

The Devil and the Author looked at each other, smiling.
“Should be better than doing errands for the fellows in London,” the Devil said.
“I bet there’s a story out there,” the Author added.

The duo finished their tea and made their way back to port. Together this time. The captain merrily invited them back onto their ship of Endless Battling, and the Author actually looked forward to it this time.

He has a Sun-Filled Story to write.


Hesperidean
Part III
by Heubristics

“Good evening, citizens and gentlebeings of London!” The voice of the Debonair Sharpshooter is a booming roar that echoes around the Forgotten Quarter, anachronistic resonance through the power of ahistorical dealings and what will one day be known as the microphone. “How are we doing?!”

The crowd howls back with anticipation. There are far more than a few dozen in the audience.

“I hope you’ve been having a great time tonight! Tonight, I reveal to you a plan years in the making…a discovery that will change London as we know it...but before I reveal it…” He leaves the crowd on edge for a moment before continuing, his voice filling with dramatic solemnity, “I’d like to tell you about something near and dear to my heart.”

The Sharpshooter reaches into his coat, pulls a scrap of parchment, holds it aloft. A page from Madame Shoshona’s seminal work on Chiropteromancy, depicting a swarm of bats in mid-flight. Their wings flutter in fearful, eightfold symmetry. This is the sign of the Spider.

“The sorrow-spider!” Hotshot shouts, “A figure of contention! Industrious weaver? Lovable pet? Menacing thief of eyes?” The crowd murmurs among themselves as he continues, “Monster, or unique beauty? Opinion is divided, indeed.” Spectacles flash cosmogone as the Sharpshooter sweeps his gaze across the audience. “There is no question that the sorrow-spider is a being of complex meanings. They are as much a part of London as humans and rats! Their webs span our workplaces and our homes, our churches and sewers. Their silk is more durable than any from the nations of the Surface! Their tenacity and strength makes them lord of the spider-pits! And their hunger for our eyes...as much a part of London as the hunger of Jack, and the hunger of wells.”

Special Constables bristle as the Sharpshooter continues, his hands rising to grasp at some imagined monstrous form. “And then there are councils.”

An unspoken gesture, and tapestries large enough to cover a carriage unfurl from the stage rafters. The audience gasps as mythic horrors captured in silk reveal themselves to public sight. On the right, an androgynous godling with eight eyes and a cloak of woven spiders prepares a coup de grâce on a clockwork tyrant’s blazing heart. On the left, tomb-colonists jerk and dance in a spiral around an enormous arachnid behemoth formed from bandages and husks; directly behind the Sharpshooter, a goddess veiled in silk and chitin nurses a human infant with one set of arms while a thousand spiderlings dangle from her other three pairs. Horrors with names and long histories: the Tree of Ages, the Venderbight Beast, the Mother in Emerald.

“Oh yes, spider-councils are real. Do not think of them as mere nightmarish fantasy tales! Even amongst yourselves, there are those who have encountered them. Spiders unto spiders unto spiders, merged together in shapes like none seen on the Surface of the Earth!” He spreads his arms wide. Urchins gasp. “Monstrous, eldritch, overwhelmingly arachnid…sapient!”

A violent shake of the head “No, councils are no mere beasts! They are thinking beings! Cunning, intelligent, emotional beings just like you and I! As eloquent as any tiger or statesman, as thoughtful as any philosopher! And yet...”

“Yes, yes, I know what is going through your heads at this very moment. What matters if these monsters can think and speak? They are still monsters, no? The Tree of Ages devours our ships whole. The Venderbight Beast rampages across the tomb-colonies. The zailors that set foot on Saviour’s Rocks do not always come back. Are they still not a threat to our lives?”

More than a few members of the audience nod their heads. Well, that was to be expected. Still, perhaps it was time to switch things up… “But what if I told you that this need not be the case?”

Now he has their attention. “Yes, we are inundated with stories of eye-stealing horrors and monstrous amalgamations. But humanity has heard many such stories before.

Blood-sucking strigoi, men and women that transform into horrible lupine beasts, witches in league with Satan! And underneath them all, who do they really tell us to fear?” He eyes the audience. “The Other. The foreigner, the outcast, the unfavoured. We make monstrous that which is not like us. These spiders, these councils are no different. They come from different cultures, yes! They make war against us, yes! They are not human, yes! But this does not make them inherently abominable.”

Hotshot whips the cosmogone spectacles from his face, and the audience gasps. He has replaced his eyes multiple times, but they inevitably assume the same appearance: pitted, blackened husks that crackle with impossible colour. “Years ago, I asked myself a question: is a person’s capacity for good and evil dictated solely by the quality of their being? Of their background, their species? Or could even something as seemingly monstrous as a spider-council learn of empathy, compassion and justice? Is it nature that dictates morality? Or nurture?”

He can see Special Constables readying communication bats. Time to hurry this up. “I gave of myself to find the answer...and I have found it! I sowed ocular soil with colour and fire, and from the soil nurtured new life! That life was taught the values that all people should seek in life! The values of charity, of kindness, of empathy and equality and fraternity!” Now. “We can be more than who we were born to be!” Now. “Monstrosity is not dictated by the nature of one’s being, but by the actions they engage in!” NOW. “WE CAN BE BETTER THAN WE ARE!”

“TONIGHT, I AM PROUD TO PRESENT TO YOU MY CHILD,” there are tears in Hotshot’s eyes, “THE TREE OF LIBERTY!”

In the dusky evening blue of the Forgotten Quarter, there comes green. Green like new shoots after rainfall, like fresh creeping ivy, like the birth of a jungle. Green like growth, like gemstones, like jealousy. Chitin-green; sorrow-spider green.

Green overwhelms in an oncoming tide as sorrow-spiders pour from the former temple en masse. Dozens, then hundreds, then thousands of spiders that pool and swirl and coagulate in short-lived clusters. Rising screams and shouts are drowned out by clicking and rustling. As the wave of spiders flows past the curtains onto the stage proper, they roil and bubble upwards into each other, into shapes and forms that mingle and fall apart and merge all over again. They swell to the size of a carriage. An elephant. A steamboat. Larger. Legs entwine, conjoin with legs; mandibles hook into claws that become mandibles that become claws; thoraxes and abdomens congeal into each other; web bones stretch and flex as millions of gleaming ruby eyes slither across the surface of the mass.

It is now, as the audience leaps from their seats and Ministry agents start calling for backup, that the final act is revealed.

A spider-council. No...something more bountiful. More fecund. A Hesperidean Spider-Council.

The Tree of Liberty.

The Tree flows through shape after shape like a dream (but dreams are ephemeral, and the Tree is entirely too solid). Now they are a hunting spider roughly the size of a small church, a spider made of spiders made of spiders. Now they are a manchineel world-tree, manifold branches dripping with venom. Now they are an abominable arachnid mockery of a Hell-Prince. Now they are a chitinous hydra with a thousand segmented heads. Now they are Arachne parasitizing Minerva. Psychic energies draw in lesser spiders by the thousands, tidal waves of arachnids skittering in supplication from all around the Quarter as the Tree expands.

Hotshot sighs with contentment as spiders gush past his legs, and lets himself fall backwards into the embracing morass of arachnids. Liberty carries him higher and higher as they rise and move and flow together. “There is no need to panic!” he calls as the audience panics, “The Tree of Liberty is a true Londoner, born and bred! They have been fed on philosophy, history, and morality! Neither the Rocks nor nature's cruelty has shaped them!” Nobody is listening to him. “Humans and spiders can live together in harmony!”

From his perch atop the Tree, he can see across the Quarter. The edges of the crowd are already fleeing, most of them eastwards. Sirens blare from the direction of London: Menace Eradicators and Special Constables alike will be here soon. Wines has drained the rest of the bar and taken flight alongside Fires while Hearts remains on the ground, pondering the Tree with an enigmatic expression. He can see the glint of countless scopes as his own forces prepare for an inevitable firefight. Hmmm. Daniel was right: this was a spectacularly poor idea.

But Hotshot no longer cares.

“Oh, don’t be like that!” he cajoles the crowd, “Just listen!” A comforting hand atop Liberty’s carapace. A whisper to one of the spiders - it doesn’t matter which one, for what one hears all hear - “No more hiding, my little clatterclaws,” he murmurs, “I will protect you always, for as long as I am able.”

A rumbling vibration floods the area. People stumble and fall. The Tree of Liberty is purring.
“Go on and introduce yourself.”

The vibration dies down, and the shaking stops. Until the Tree of Liberty opens their ten thousand mouths... and in a unified drone, begins to sing.

~~People of London~~We finally meet!~~And we must say~~You all have such lovely eyes~~

~~~~~~

Those members of the audience that did not immediately flee are remarkably tight-lipped when it comes to what came after that. Few will admit to hearing Liberty’s words; none will admit (in public) to staying, or of hearing what the Sharpshooter said afterwards. The Ministry is always listening in to these kinds of things.

But most will agree that it was quite the finale.


Memories and Roses, Part II
The Urchins
by Professor Wensleydale.

Next, I combed the Flit for the Fisher-Kings. Maybe they could give me ideas about mood.

That, and also funding. The Bishop didn’t provide any of that.

As I encroached upon them, they threw a bunch of jars at me. Ow! Ow! Ow! Stop doing that! Ow!

Some of the screams sounded godlike, though. And maybe I can sell these broken jars… or sculpt them.

For now, though, I needed to get these scraps out of my arm.

Shadowy is increasing...
Daring is increasing…
Subtle is increasing…
Nightmares is dropping…
Wounds is increasing…
You’ve gained 1*Surface-Rose Petal(new total 5).
You now have 55*Correspondence Plaques.
You now have 1*Aeolian Scream.
Restoring an Epic has increased to 3!



------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

Changes Swooping Through Our Fair City - Major Reconstructions underway

In recent days you may have spotted construction workers lingering on the periphery of your vision, perhaps even actual ongoing construction work nearby. Your eyes do not deceive you; an uncertain yet certainly prominent power has started changing the very face of our dear London herself.

The facades of many buildings are getting a new coat, broken benches have been replaced, new state-of-the-art bells have been installed, and gas lamps have been nearly eradicated by electric light bulbs (where possible).

Furthermore, the streets are finally accessible to more cabs with less accidents thanks to the renovation of roads and repolishing of the catheads. The cats could not have been reached for a comment, though the ride there was truly smooth.

Despite the insofar mixed reception we are certain that these novel changes will bring much joy and well-needed breath of fresh air to each of our lives and day-to-day activities. So go out there, London, and enjoy the niceties brought to you by surely at least one of the governing powers!


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
[REDACTED]
[REDACTED]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear [REDACTED],
[REDACTED]

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
0 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

9 days ago
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

Isolation is a disservice to the mind. Endless repetitions, numbing passivities, exercises in futility. It is truly a shame to be isolated.

If you find yourself in such a situation, it is important not to panic. As counter-intuitive as it may be, establish a schedule. Go about your day as if nothing had happened - of course, within the confines of this isolation.

Importantly, do try not to be truly isolated. Pen a letter to a friend. Exchange knowing glances with neighbours and passer-bys through window panes. Commune with your chosen deities. Communicate with the spirits of old through boards and writing.

Most importantly, do not try to stay sane. Such a futile attempt shall always result in more failure than having the stream carry your spirit through the endless reaches of time.

Keep safe, dear London.


------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

Memories and Roses, Part III
The Bohemians
by Professor Wensleydale.

Ah, the Singing Mandrake. One of my “favorite” taverns in London. The patrons would almost certainly inspire me.



“AAAAAAAAAGH. SCREW HEADACHES.”

Well, at least I’m inspired.

Watchful has not increased.
Shadowy is increasing…
Persuasive has not increased.
Hedonist is increasing…
Wounds has increased to 2- Aches and Pains!
You’ve gained 1*Surface-Rose(new total 6).
Restoring an Epic has increased to 4!
You’ve lost 50*pence(new total 23525).



------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

The Double-Heads Burglar - A True Uncatchable Master Thief?

In the past week, many high-profile establishments and households have been robbed - and, might we add, rather expertly. Constables and detectives alike have been unable to identify even the method of entry as this meticulous thief leaves nothing to chance and everything to skill; each burgled place has been meticulously cleaned to the point of being even cleaner than before the crime had been committed.

Furthermore, it often seems that nothing had gone missing, a trinket here or a precious secret there. The affected citizens and organizations have troubles identifying what exactly had happened, though the stolen goods can always be traced to black market dealings.

Yes, so clever is this thief that we may have never known of their existence were it not for a trademark. On every scene of their crime, on the window sill, the thief leaves a single, perfectly minted double-headed one pound coin. This trademark had contributed to the thief’s new moniker, the Double-Heads Burglar.

Will we ever find out who this true artist of a thief is? As with all great art, dear London, perhaps their identity will fall to the deep shadows of mysterious history. The only certainty we have is that the burglar will reign for a time more, showing their skill through acts of precarious mastery.

Check your heirlooms, London.


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
Forever and ever stuck in a whirlwind of indecisiveness.
Seeking

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Seeking,
Perhaps, one day, the time will be right to show your cards. Perhaps, one day, there will be no need to do so.

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
+1 link
Frogvarian
Frogvarian
Posts: 95

2 days ago
-------------------------------------- Editorial --------------------------------------

Immense joy is to be found in deep pursuit of one’s interests. The flame that fuels one’s desire is to be stoked and taken nice care of - subdued when the heat gets too unbearable, encouraged more and more were it to diminish to cinders.

So sublime is the feeling of embetterment. We, humans, always strive to be the best versions of us we can be, and such a calling is to be answered with full, enthusiastic effort. Follow the warmth and stomach-butterflies that come with doing what truly makes your your true self.

In pursuit of, to put it plainly, perfection, there will be blockades on the road. The feared artist’s curse, an engineer’s plight, a king’s wane. Such obstacles may be disheartening. One only has to know, however, what their mind is telling them. Practice, most commonly, care for one’s health, perhaps another problem to be taken care of. It is difficult to determine, yet vital for continuation. With an implicit understanding of individual experiences - practice.

Practice, in the pursuit of perfection, is essential. It, indeed, is the very fuel for one’s flames, the energy necessary for development. Practice, truly, is the holiest of rites anyone can tend to. Tedious, perhaps, yet in the end so empowering, so fulfilling.

I encourage you, London, do not be overcome by sloth; take to your tools, dear artists, and become the best self you possibly could.


------------------------------------ Art of London ------------------------------------

Memories and Roses, Part IV
The Revolutionaries
by Professor Wensleydale.

Oh, b____y hell. The Missionary has been inviting people to my parlor. I might as well get inspiration from them.

“The Liberation of Night.”

“No, no, no. This thing was written about 550 years ago. Was the Liberation a concept back then? Actually, screw it- can you bring me the eighth month?”

After twelve hours, I had about two stacks of notes. The Contrarian left, leaving me a drink of particular taste.

Daring is increasing…
Ruthless is increasing…
Subtle is increasing...
You’ve gained 1*Surface-Rose Petal(new total 7).
You now have 1*Vial of Master’s Blood.
Restoring an Epic has increased to 5!



------------------------------- News of Art, Art of News -------------------------------

A Cloying Campaign Of Adverts - Candy-Make Or Con-Artist?

Leaflets, posters, criers abound, a wave of advertising material has swept through and taken over London’s streets in the past several days. All paid for by one Mr. E_____ of the E_____ Confectionary, this campaign is to promote the aforementioned company, a manufacturer and seller of sweets and candy of all kinds. They promise a never-before-experience taste of sweetness, a pleasure so extreme you might not want to try anything else afterwards.

These claims, as common as they are for those in the advertisement business, are short of a mystery - E_____ Confectionary, as well as its owner, are nowhere yet to be seen. Furthermore, no one has heard of the owner himself; the leaflets and posters have nearly spontaneously come into existence, the criers only acting on their daily orders, their bosses having been paid off by a rather tight-lipped series of lawyers.

Truly, no citizen knows what to make of this, except for one small, lonely shopfront. In a seldom-visited street of Veilgarden, between a barber’s and a baker’s, sits a closed-down shop. Doors and windows neatly boarded up, yet the paint job is strikingly new, and a pristine sign hangs atop - E_____’s Exquisite Confections.

Even to us, as well-informed and investigative as a newspaper strives to be, even to us at the Gazette this has come as a surprise, dear London. The adverts promise no specific day of grand opening. The sweet smell coming from within is truly intoxicating. What might be the nature of this small shop? Will it be anything short of artistry, or simply an over-blown lie?

More on this story, of course, as it develops.


---------------------------------- Ask Mother Goose ----------------------------------

Dear Mother Goose,
Times are hard. How to make best of it?
Sickened

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Sickened,
Keeping busy and working hard are the prevailing tactics.

--
R. J. Frogvarian
An Extraordinary Mind, Correspondent, and author of mysterious, if a bit scandalous, qualities.
Open to interactions, roleplay, chess, and the occasional scanadlosity.

Rebeka Frogvarian
Gone NORTH.

Publisher of The Goosey Gazette, the best stop for all things arty and Neathy!
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